God by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

God by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Plumbing trap mounted on mitre box
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA

“God,” a readymade sculpture exemplifies the spirit and avant-garde strategies of New York Dada. Made in the same year as Duchamp’s “Fountain” it consists of a cast iron drain trap set on its end and mounted on a mitre box. The Baroness elevates everyday and industrial art and questions the view on the use value and aesthetic value of art. The piece shows a Dadaist irreverence towards the authority of higher powers, substituting the holy with lowly plumbing materials. The sculpture, a pipe no longer fit for purpose is also suggestive of a twisted phallus and perhaps the Baroness is making a critique of a male-dominated, phallocentric society.

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven 1874-1927

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Dada, Performance Art, Readymade and The Found Object, Modern Photography, Proto-Feminist Artists
Born: 12 July 1874, Swinemunde, Germany
Nationality: German-American
Died: 14 December 1927, Paris, France

The Baroness, as Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was known, was a living legend in the bohemian enclave of Greenwich Village, New York in the years before and after the First World War. She was a catalyst and provocateur of the burgeoning Dada movement in New York, and the Baroness obliterated the conventional boundaries and norms of womanhood and femininity whilst upending the notions of what was considered to be art